The Child Life and Creative Arts Program at Rush University Medical Center focuses on the emotional and developmental well-being of hospitalized children and their families. Hospitalization interrupts a child's normal life. Illness, confinement and painful medical treatment can be very frightening and confusing to children. When children are seriously ill, they may become more dependent on their parents, lose their self-esteem and miss out on many learning opportunities. All of this can jeopardize a child's physical, emotional, and intellectual growth. Through therapeutic play, art, education and other forms of self-expression, our program helps children and families cope with the difficult experience of being in a hospital.
Child life specialists can use books, medical equipment, dolls and other teaching tools to prepare your child for medical exams, procedures, surgery or imaging scans. They can also work with you to create an individualized coping plan for your child to support them during these experiences. Child life coping plans may include engaging your child in breathing techniques, imagery and other forms of distraction.
Child life specialists work to promote the following:
Other services for pediatric patients and their families:
The Child Life and Creative Arts team:
- Child life specialists are trained and certified to help children cope with illness and hopsitalization by providing support, teaching and therapeutic activities.
- Art therapists work with children using many different materials, allowing them to be creative in order to enhance self-expression and coping.
- Recreation therapists work with children using activities that promote leisure, social interaction and wellness.
- Hospital teachers help children keep up with their homework and studying while they are absent from school due to hospital stays.